Sherwood Dodge Shankland Award for Encouragement of Teachers (1969)
Ella Fulton Dunham University Professor of History
Anna Macias grew up in New York City’s Manhattan, where she attended Hunter College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1952 with a major in history and minors in Spanish literature and humanities. In 1954, she earned her M.A. from Smith College in Latin American history with a minor in European history. A master’s thesis on the struggle for Mexican independence, and a year living in Mexico in 1956-57, led to her long and deep interest in that country and to her strong enthusiasm for Latin American history in general. She pursued these interests at Columbia University where she earned her doctorate in 1965, concentrating on 19th and 20th century Mexico and minoring in modern Latin American history and modern European history. Her dissertation treated the origins of constitutional government in Mexico, and was published in Mexico in 1973.
When Professor Macias came to Ohio Wesleyan in 1963, she was already an experienced teacher. During her M.A. candidacy at Smith, she served for two years as a teaching fellow in history. She then received appointments as a history instructor at Dana Hall School, teaching assistant in American studies at Amherst College, and visiting instructor in Latin American history back at Smith.
Dr. Macias has enjoyed a distinguished 30-year career at Ohio Wesleyan. Well known as an enthusiastic, devoted, and thoroughly prepared teacher, she has challenged and nurtured generations of students, honing their communication and historical skills, and teaching them to think critically and engage meaningfully with their studies. While modern Mexico and Latin America have remained at center stage in her teaching, she also has introduced popular courses on Native Americans and women in American history. She has taught widely and well, as reflected in her 1969 receipt of the Sherwood Dodge Shankland Teaching Award and her 1983 appointment to the endowed chair she holds today. Believing that one needs personal exposure to what one teaches, Dr. Macias spent three different years living and studying in Mexico during her time here. Finally, her teaching has reached well beyond the classroom, for she has helped organize four major professional conferences at Ohio Wesleyan, including a 1969 conference on the Spanish Civil War funded with a National Endowment for the Humanities grant.
Professor Macias is a scholar of international reputation whose work has been prolific and versatile. While at Ohio Wesleyan, she has contributed two books, 10 articles, more than 20 conference papers, and a long list of book reviews. Her scholarship covers a variety of subjects including Mexican independence, Mexican women in revolutionary situations, and aspects of Native American history. She points to two works as her most important contributions: her 1982 book, Against All Odds: The Feminist Movement in Mexico to 1940, and a 1985 conference paper (now a published article), “Rural and Urban Women in Revolutionary Yucatan, 1915-1923.” Both are pioneering efforts which have generated considerable study by other scholars. She has been a frequent speaker at professional meetings in the U.S. and Mexico.
A devoted teacher, a stimulating and energetic colleague, an accomplished scholar, and a good friend, Professor Macias will be sorely missed. One cannot doubt, however, that in retirement she will continue to teach, study, learn and contribute to others.
Written by Jan T. Hallenbeck, OWU’s Aden S. & Mollie Wollam Benedict Professor of History